Killer Instinct has received an annual stream of content since its release back in 2013 alongside the Xbox One launch. With the arrival of Season 3, the fighting game is now getting an number of returning fighters from the Rare-developed SNES games as well as some fan-favorites from Microsoft’s own franchises, with the latter being a first for the series. But that’s not all; much like last year’s Season 2, there are new stages to play in and new modes to try out. Additionally, with the arrival of a Windows 10 version, Killer Instinct: Season 3 now supports cross-platform multiplayer between the latter and Xbox One.
For the uninitiated, developer Iron Galaxy Studios took over Killer Instinct’s development from Double Helix Games a year after its release. Since then, the studio has introduced a few key changes to the game’s core mechanics in addition to fleshing out the story mode with new content for each character. As is the case with prior seasons, half of the new characters will be released over the coming months. In addition, the much touted Shadow Lords mode, where players will participate in a metagame of sorts in order to stop Gargos from global domination, is not available from the get-go. Despite that, the new characters and features available at launch are still worth checking out by fans of the series.
As mentioned earlier, Season 3 marks the first time characters from other Microsoft franchises have been crossed over to Killer Instinct. The first of these is Rash, who longtime Rare fans will remember as one of the four Battletoads. Accompanying him is the Covenant Arbiter from the Halo series. That’s not to say that there are no returning combatants from the SNES era games. Last seen in Killer Instinct 2, ancient warrior Tusk and female ninja Kim Wu have made their return to the character roster after 20 years, and both have been overhauled for their current generation reincarnations.
Each of the new character has their own play style that fits well within the game universe. The Arbiter can use his guns for a limited amount of time or use his trustworthy blade. He is slow but can do powerful damage if used efficiently. Compared to Arbiter, Tusk is another heavy character with hard hitting moves but slow execution. If used on time, Tusk can prove to be a great character in battle but can often fall victim of his slow attacks.
If you are not a fan of the heavy hitters that are slow to play, you can go for the two new characters: Rash and Kim Wu. Both of these are fast and fun to play. Rash is taken from the classic Rare series: Battletoads, while Kim Wu is a returning character from Killer Instinct. Both of these character offer fast attacks that might be tricky to master but are satisfying when we pull off a full combo with them.
Killer Instinct Season 3 adds a lot to the already spectacular fighting game. It not only includes new characters, it also marks the release of the game on Windows 10 and makes it cross-play and cross-save between the PC and Xbox One version of the game. This means that the online community is again strengthened by the game being on multiple platforms, which results in a better matchmaking experience.
One of the major touted feature is improved graphics and we can confirm that going from Killer Instinct Season 2 to Killer Instinct Season 3 is a worthy experience. The upgraded lighting makes some of the stages stand out more and despite being a launch title, the particle effects that are in action during the intense fighting remain unmatched for Killer Instinct.
Killer Instinct Season 3 will add a grand total of 8 characters, out of which, only four of them have been released so far. The rest of the character have been rumored for a while and from the looks of it, we might be getting more characters from Microsoft owned franchise which makes this the undisputed fighting game for Microsoft’s Xbox One, since it contains fighters from majority of the Xbox exclusive games. In addition to the four new characters, we have confirmation of two of the upcoming characters including Mira and Gargos. Both of these are characters that will return from the classic Killer Instinct roster.
Killer Instinct Season 3 also adds three new stages featuring the new characters. We have the Arena of Judgment as the stage for Arbiter, Chinatown Brawl as the stage for Kim Wu and Icehaven as the stage for Tusk. It is possible that more stages will be added in the future updates.
Iron Galaxy has also confirmed that a new type of multiplayer mode will be added in the July update that will tie in with the upcoming Shadow Lords story mode. Shadow Lords is another new addition to Killer Instinct that is a mix of “part ladder, part arcade mode, part story mode, and part roguelike,” mode. Players can choose a single main character and then have to assemble a team of fighters to fight Gargos. This mode will be released later down this Season.
Killer Instinct Season 3 offers a great value for its price. The regular edition of Season 3 can be bought for $19.99 while the Ultra Edition featuring VIP Double XP Booster, 8 retro costumes, accessory sets, bonus retro character colors, and 18,000 KI Gold and early access to the DLC characters can be bought for $39.99. If you are not a fan of the Season Pass, you can just grab each of your favorite character for $4.99.
If you are a fan of fighting games and prefer an excellent net code and exceptional performance from a game, then Killer Instinct is the game for you. The net code online is mostly lag free and the gameplay is great for newcomers and experienced alike, which is satisfying to master in the long run.
This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.